PRESS RELEASE: The Acheman Challenge

Issue date: 5th February 2014

Four members of staff from The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) Head Office are to leave their desks and take to the towpath to raise funds for a new excavator for IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group (WRG). The name, an intentianal play on words with Robert Aickman's surname, is due to the physical nature of the challenge which may lead to some "aches".

On the 5th April, Toby Gomm, Stephanie Pay, Gemma Bolton and Jenny Black will undergo a 50 mile challenge along the Grand Union Canal from Harefield to Wolverton in Milton Keynes. They hope to raise £5000, around 20% of the cost of a new 2.5 tonne excavator, to replace WRG’s old JCB 803 excavator Blue, which was recently donated to Buckingham Canal Society.

The Quadrathlon will be a test of stamina, fitness and skill, taking between 10 and 12 hours to complete. A selection of waterway users' interests will be represented. It comprises the following disciplines:

•    Bike – 40 miles along
•    Locking a boat – 7 locks through Marsworth
•    Run – 6 miles
•    Canoe – 3 miles   

WRG intends that the new excavator will play a key role in assisting its volunteers with waterway restoration work as well as allowing other waterway societies to undertake projects without the costs involved in commercial plant hire. The new excavator will also be used to train the next generation of waterway navvies in the operation of a technical, but essential, piece of equipment.  

You can sponsor the IWA staff participating in The Acheman Challenge and help raise funds for WRG’s new excavator donating:

•    Online via Virgin Money Giving
•    By text, text ROLT46 followed by the amount in pounds e.g. “£10” to 70070
•    By phone, call Toby Gomm at IWA’s Head Office on 01494 783 453 ext. 611
•    By cheque, payable to The Inland Waterways Association and sent to Acheman Challenge, IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA

Toby Gomm, IWA's Fundraising Officer, has said “I never envisaged I'd be doing something like this. It's a fantastic opportunity to get fit, raise funds and promote the interests of waterway users. I just hope I'll still be able to walk by the end of it!”

Mike Palmer, WRG Chairman, said “It's great to see staff at Head Office undertake such a difficult challenge for a worthy cause.”

IWA would like to thank David King, Chris Clegg, Canal & River Trust, The Coy Carp in Harefield, Camphill Café, The Black Horse and The New Inn in Milton Keynes, The Galleon Pub in Wolverton, and Paddlesport Racers Association in Milton Keynes, for the support they have provided in the planning and logistics of this event.

As well as raising funds for WRG's new excavator, The Acheman Challenge, recognises the centenary of the birth of one of IWA's founders, Robert Aickman in 2014.


About IWA - notes for editors

The Acheman Challenge

If you would like to be kept informed of the team’s progress, follow us on facebook at and Twitter at @IWA_UK, which will regularly be updated with the latest Acheman Challenge news.

About Robert Aickman

Robert Aickman article in Waterways Magazine (on page 14)
Read online
Download PDF

IWA campaigns for the use, maintenance and restoration of Britain's inland waterways.
About IWA
Volunteers restoring the waterways. The Waterway Recovery Group is part of IWA.
About WRG

Photo: Gemma Bolton, Toby Gomm, Stephanie Pay and Jenny Black by the Grand Union Canal in Watford.

Download photo from Flickr